Wednesday, 8 June 2016

How one of the top private universities in India contributes towards reducing air pollution in the city

A breath of fresh clean air is quite like a distant dream in a city where the air is foul. High levels of air pollutants are taking a colossal toll on human health. India has some of the most polluted cities in the world: 33 out of 100, according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) latest report on ‘Ambient Air Pollution 2016’. 

Dirty air is not just an ‘eyesore’, but a veritable public health risk and no one is spared its negative effects. WHO’s Dr Carlos Dora says, “When air quality improves, health costs from air pollution-related diseases shrink, worker productivity expands and life expectancy grows.”

Healthy air is essential for survival of all life on earth, living as well as non-living (pollution makes buildings crumble. Rain brings down the pollution and falls as acid rain which gradually turns entire water bodies more acidic and endangers marine life. Thus the whole eco-system is dependent on good quality of air.

Universities should be leaders of change and have the potential to inculcate sustainable principles in society. They can raise public awareness about hazards of increasing air pollution and disseminate information about ways of reducing it. The NorthCap University (NCU), Gurgaon, one of the top private universities in India, uses its scientific expertise to sensitize students and the community in this regard and demonstrates the eco-friendly way through its day-to-day deliberations. NCU organizes mini-marathons to focus on health benefits of walking and running and to catalyze action against air pollution. It has installed a 150 KW rooftop solar PV system with net metering facility - possibly the first and only university to install it.

In this ‘do or die’ situation it is imperative to continuously measure and monitor pollution levels and take necessary measures to regulate it. The Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, GOI is installing an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) at NCU for environmental monitoring and research. It will provide accurate and real time weather data that will benefit especially farmers, as it will enable them to prepare for weather conditions in advance in line with the saying: ‘Forewarned is forearmed’.

NCU promotes the mantra ‘plant a tree and create your own oxygen bank’ and welcomes guests with ‘saplings’. Lush green gardens at NCU help achieve a green code of living. 2016 is the 15th consecutive year it won the HUDA garden competition in Gurgaon.
Campus-wide initiatives at NCU aim at reducing pollution such as:

• Bus Service and car pooling
• Odd-even scheme for vehicles
• Cycling and walking
• Energy Conservation
• Use of renewable energy
• Water harvesting
• Sewage management
• Efforts for Carbon neutrality
• Plantations
• E – waste management
• Recycling of waste
• Activities and programmes to impart skills in sensitizing and mobilizing community participation
• Cleanliness campaigns for a ‘Swachh Bharat’ 
NCU’s mantra is ‘Live and let Live’ for a healthier tomorrow!

Let us all try to reduce pollution and restore air to its pristine state and save our planet from extinction.
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Written by Rekha Mathur

1 comment:

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